And So, It Begins…

By Vasudha Khandeparkar, EMBA London 2022

This next post in my EMBA and pregnancy chronicles comes on the heels of an amazing summer and orientation week. I joined the cohort as one of the very first admits into the batch. The handful of us waited with bated breath to see who would join us in our journey over the next two years. I initiated the Whatsapp group with a few of the early admits. To digress slightly, I would highly recommend building this rapport with the group early on. We have laughed together, lifted each other’s spirits and supported one another through this simple group in the past 6 months.

Another aspect which we coordinated through the Whatsapp group was bi-weekly Zoom socials. Initially, we kicked these off as having general conversations and getting to know each other. As time progressed, we had quizzes and discussions on clarification points from the programme office. This was also supplemented by 1-2-1 sessions that I organized with some members of the cohort. Through the initial pregnancy days, this virtual interaction was extremely helpful as there was no worrying about food, drink and morning sickness interfering with getting to know people.

As we moved into the summer and lockdown started easing slowly, there were more socials organised. Keeping in mind safety due to now being at higher risk, and general pregnancy symptoms, I joined in with some weekend events, but used my non-London base as my main reason behind staying away from the mid-week socials. The socialisation worries I had were definitely assuaged in large part due to the pandemic.

As we moved into August – we got visibility of our pre-courses and class schedules. I had bad migraines through the first trimester, which certainly didn’t help with focusing on the pre-courses. It didn’t impact me too much as the pre-courses were in Accounting and Data.

Orientation week proved to be a lot more difficult. If you are joining the EMBA cohort, you have likely not been in a structured classroom setting for a long period of time. Don’t forget, this is also the first time the school rolled out hybrid learning. Where I thought pregnancy made me tired, full days of classes (the first with no unstructured breaks) definitely took a huge toll on me. However, I was not the only one exhausted – the wider cohort felt that way too. As we progressed, the breaks were timelier and more structured which helped.

Keep in mind though, as we move past the pandemic, orientation week is a week of intense socialisation. Usually, we would all congregate in London at a hotel and embed ourselves in each other’s lives through the week. This time orientation week was virtual with distanced socials planned due to the pandemic. I chose to attend a few socials, again keeping in mind risk factors and the need for breaks. I got away from drinking with the driving card, but have your story prepped to go.

I’ll go into assignments, readings and class participation in the next post. What I’d like to finish with this time is ensuring you go in eyes wide open (hopefully my story helps you do this) – you will get tired, you will have FOMO from not being able to attend some socials (think treks, intense workouts, Crystal Maze etc.). However, rest assured that this will only impact your journey as much as you want it to.

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